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Ash - Uses and Benefits - How Does Ash Works?

Taxonomic Class

Oleaceae

Common Trade Name

Multi-ingredient preparation: Phytodolar

Common Forms

Liquid extract: combination product containing common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) bark, aspen (Populus tremula) leaves and bark, and goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) aerial, alcohol 45.6%

Source

The crude drug is prepared from the leaves and bark of the F. excelsior tree.

Chemical components

Ash leaf extracts contain varying amounts of flavonoids (including rutin 0.1 % to 0.9%), iridoide monoterpenes, mannitol (16% to 28%), mucilages (10% to 20%), phenolic acids, phytosterols, tannins, and triterpenes, depending on the time of year the plants are harvested. Extracts of ash bark contain hydroxycoumarins, including aesculin, fraxin, and isofraxidin.

Actions

Limited studies have been conducted on the actions of ash alone. Available information pertains to the activity of ash as an anti-inflammatory. Ash has been shown to inhibit the enzyme myeloperoxidase, which is released by activated granulocytes and produces the destructive agent hypochloric acid . Ash also inhibits the enzyme dehydrogenate reeducate. Alone and in combination, ash significantly reduced rat paw edema to varying degrees and decreased arthritic paw volume. This anti-inflammatory activity was comparable to the tested doses of diclofenac .

Reported Uses

Historically, the dried powders of ash leaf extracts were used as a mild diuretic and tonic.

Studies have been conducted for the use of ash, alone and in combination with aspen and goldenrod, as an anti-inflammatory in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical studies with combination products have noted similar efficacy in arthritic conditions with NSAID's .

Dosage

Reported dosage for the combination product ranges from 20 to 40 gtt P.O. t.i.d. or q.i.d. mixed with water or a fluid of choice. A standard dosage has not been established.

Adverse Reactions

None reported.

Interactions

None reported.

Contraindications And Precautions

The combination product should be used with caution in patients who are hypersensitive to salicylates. Effects in pregnancy are unknown.

Special Considerations

Find out why the patient has been taking ash.

Although no chemical interactions have been reported in clinical studies, consideration must be given to the herbal product's pharmacologic properties and the potential for interference with the intended therapeutic effect of conventional drugs.

Caution the patient not to self-treat symptoms of arthritis before receiving appropriate medical evaluation because this may delay diagnosis of a serious medical condition.

Advise the patient to consult a health care provider before using herbal preparations because a treatment that has been clinically researched and proved effective may be available.

Keep ash extracts away from children and pets.

Points of Interest

Excelsior is listed in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database.

The German Commission E, which oversees drug use in Germany, considers ash an unapproved product.

Commentary

Although there is information about the use of ash in a fixed combination product for treating arthritic conditions, information about ash alone is limited. Additional safety and efficacy data are needed to assess the risks and benefits of ash.

   

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